The Indo-Caribbean experience: The difference between Bhojpuri and Hindi
It’s Hindi Divas or Hindi Day today. The Hindi language is often the language that many Indo-Caribbean people see as their identity language. However, many descendents of Indian indentured labourers, like Ramraji Ramsewak in this video, speak the ethnic language they inhereted from their parents called Trinidad Bhojpuri. This language evolved out of the various dialects of Bhojpuri brought by the indentured immigrants mostly from the Bhojpuri speaking belt of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The majority of immigrants hailed from these parts, so the Bhojpuri speech formed the critical mass the formed Plantation Hindustani which is now the Caribbean Hindustani language spoken in Trinidad, Guyana and Suriname today.
Modern Standard Hindi, however, is based in Khari Boli of Delhi. Khari Boli is to Bhojouri as Spanish is to Portuguese. However, before the efforts of bodies like Caribbean Hindustani and Sarnami bol, there was no material to learn Bhojpuri and the only available documentation from where one can learn Hindustani (Northern Indian language) is those that resulted out of the British colonial administration through establishment of the Fort William College in Calcutta, India. These specifically focused on Khari Boli, now today know as Modern Standard Hindi. Due to this fact, most of the descendents of Indian indentured labourers, whose heritage language was Bhojpuri, could only attempt to access it via learning Khari Boli.
Today, many persue Hindi classes via India in Trinidad & Tobago (High Commission of India, Port of Spain) in search of their heritage because it is the closest access they can get to their heritage language. My Hindi teacher is a native Bhojpuri speaker.
This was one of my earlier Trinidad Bhojpuri interviews with my Hindi teacher Mrs.Sujata Seereeram from Centre for Language Learning, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad. It was done in Penal, Trinidad and Tobago.
Caribbean Hindustani and Sarnami Bol are currently in the process of creating material that will specifically address the needs of learning the heritage language of the descendents of Indian indentured labourers. Please follow and like the initiatives on these pages.
To every one I wish a happy Hindi day.